We heard all off-season that Ruben wanted to get a power hitting outfielder to hit behind Ryan Howard in the lineup. Early in the nonseasonal we hoped that it would former MVP Josh Hamilton or switch hitting Nick Swisher. But as the off-season moved along it became apparent that significant money wasn't going to be used for the upgrade. Then earlier this week we learned that the Phillies had agreed to terms with the talented but troubled Delmon Young. I'll take a look at the positives and negatives of the signing.
Young's troubles started long before his last incident last season. Way back in 2006 while Young was a highly touted prospect int he Rays system. He was suspended for 50 games for throwing a bat at an umpire. The incident happened after Young had been ejected for arguing a third strike Then at some point while heading back to the dugout, he launced his bat and it hit the umpire in the chest. Young also made the "news" last season while a member of the Tigers he yelled anti-Semitic slurs while intoxicated outside of the team's hotel. He eventually pleaded to aggravated harassment and was also suspended for 10 games by MLB.
A walk? What's that?!?
If there ever was a player with a lack of discipline at the plate. Delmon Young is your man. In 608 plate appearances last season, he walked a mind blowing low 20 times! That was the 2nd lowest total in all of MLB (MIN 600 PA). He earned a base on ball just 3.3% of the time. His 18.4% K% shows his lake of any plate discipline.
He makes Abreu look like a Gold Glover! Oh Wait..........
Last season Young was mainly a DH for the American Leauge Tigers and he hasn't played Right Field Regularly since 2007. According to Fangraphs.com, Left Fielders with minimum of 200 innings, Young ranked last in IZR/150( Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games).
Takes AB's from Ruf/Brown
Before the Phillies brought Young on board, it looked as though Ruf and Brown would go into spring as starters and it would be there jobs to lose. Now it looks like Young as the inside track at RF, while the two youngsters will battle it out in left. I hope Charlie gives Ruf and Brown every opportunity to win the jobs, with Young being a plan B.
He's an established power right handed hitter
The Phillies have been searching for a power right handed bat to hit behind Howard ever since they lost Werth to free agency. And Young fits that description. He hit 18 home-runs last season and isn't far removed from the 21 home run 112 RBI season he had in 2010. Young is also a former number 1 overall selection, so the talent is there. Its just a whether or not he can master the mental side of the game. Young is also coming off of a great postseason where he was the ALCS MVP.
The Phillies got "Young-er"
All I have heard over the last year, is the we need to get younger. While I think Ruben took that a little to far as he signed both Michael Young and Delmon Young. All joking aside, Delmon is just 27. He is entering the prime years of his career and hopefully the Phillies will benifit.
He was a good RF
Back when he played RF in 2007, he was an average to slightly above average fielder. I know that was a long time ago, but he has said he feels more comfortable playing in right as opposed to left. He also had ankle surgery this off-season so if you combine the healthy ankle with the weight loss. Maybe he will return to form. He is only 27, he's not 37.
When I heard the Phillies were interested in Young, I was concerned thinking he wasn't worth the 4-5 million he could get. But when I heard what the contract was worth, I was on board. The worst case scenario is he acts up in the spring, they cut him and are down $750,000. I think John Middleton may have spent that much on cigars last year. Young made $6.75 million last year, so $750,00 is a bargain.
Conclusion: I like it!
In the end, its a gamble for the Phillies. Its your typical high risk/ low reward move. Pat Gillick was known for making these kind of moves but it didn't seem to be Ruben's thing. My biggest concern is potential at bats he could steal from Brown and Ruf. I say, make Young take one of their starting jobs. Don't just give it to him. With the low amount of money the Phillies have invested in this move. I don't see how you could be against it. The Phillies may have gotten a power hitting bat for a bargain and if not $750,000 is still a good deal on a bench bat.